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Ben Hur: MGM 1925 / Music composed and conducted by Carl Davis

Album Summary

>Rózsa, Miklós : Ben-Hur, film score
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The Royal Liverpool Orchestra became identified with Carl Davis's score for the 1925 Ben-Hur after several performances in Liverpool and Cardiff in 1988. So well received were the shows that this recording was made in 1989. In the Olympic year of 2012 the Philharmonia decided to screen the film, on the 9th June at the Royal Festival Hall, prompting this re-release, which has been re-mastered by K&A Productions. The album was previously available on the Silva Screen label. The score written by Carl Davis is based on a Straussian 'Natur Tema' and he also wanted to quote a well-known part of the liturgy choosing the simple phrase which is well known as The Dresden Amen. The booklet comes with a short history on the making of the film, with stills from the film and Carl Davis explains how the music paints a picture showing how the story unfolds bringing the silent film to life.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool (03/05/1989-03/06/1989).


Ben Hur (1925)
Carl Davis’1987 score for the silent MGM Ben Hur has more than sufficient interest to stand on its own merits quite distinct from its cinematic genesis. Proponents of the Late Romantic School especially its German/Austrian variant will find much to admire here. Carl Davis has done a superb job of organizing and developing his fecund array of ideas. With respectful nods to Wagner, R. Strauss, Mahler, Mussorgsky, the ubiquitous Dresden Amen and even Dr. William Axt and David Mendoza (composers of the original score), Davis has fashioned a moving, exciting piece of music in the finest tradition of the symphonic poem. The spacious, lush acoustics of Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool beautifully complement the epic, inspirational orientation of the material. The lavishly illustrated booklet is replete with fascinating anecdotal information recalling the rigors of mounting the massive 1925 production as well as a detailed essay by Davis regarding his compositional decisions. Plaudits to the Carl Davis Collection for restoring to circulation this marvelous 1989 Silva Screen production.
Submitted on 08/10/12 by Allen Cohen 
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Works Details

>Rózsa, Miklós : Ben-Hur, film score
  • Conductor: Carl Davis
  • Ensemble: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool (03/05/1989-03/06/1989)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Film Score
  • Written: 1959